Aussies have lost over $205 million to investment scams, says ACCC

aussies being scammed millions

Since the start of the year, Australians have lost over $205 million to investment scams. That’s a 116% increase on the same period last year, says the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s (ACCC) Scamwatch.

In 2021, Australians lost over $320 million in scams in total, with the majority of the monetary loss coming from investment scams–about $177 million–and dating scams–about $56 million.

ACCC’s deputy chair Delia Rickard says: “We are seeing more money lost to investment scams and so we are urging all Australians not to trust investment opportunities that seem too good to be true.”

Most of the losses came from crypto investment scams–$113 million reported lost so far–given cryptocurrency has been the most common form of payment used within these scams.

Scamwatch believes that the total amount of money lost to investment scams is higher at present because a recent search found that only 13% of scam victims reported losses. Those who are making claims have reported an increase in text messages offering an opportunity to invest. 

So far the most common contact method for these scammers are through text messages. 

“If you receive an unexpected text message or phone call from someone offering you an opportunity to invest, it is likely a scam and you should immediately hang up or delete the message,” says Rickard.

If you’re not sure how to catch a scam, we’ve created four tips on how to spot a potential scam below.

4 ways to spot a scam

how to spot a scam

Spotting scams can be simple if you know what to look for. Here are a few general ideas:

  1. Unknown numbers. We all know to be sceptical of unknown numbers, but also if you receive a text from a number you don’t know, do not open any links.
  2. Dodgy email. When checking your emails double check if the address of the sender has any weird symbols or words after the ‘@’ sign. A general rule of thumb is, if it looks odd just delete it.
  3. Too good to be true. If a stranger is promising you that you’ll become a millionaire in a few days, chances are that’s a lie. If a promise sounds too good to be true, chances are that it’s a scam. 
  4. Third party websites. When shopping online, if you’re being sent to a third party website that you’re not familiar with or heard of, chances are that you’ve been caught in a fake shopping website. Close the website and make sure you report it to Scamwatch.

To get more information on how to avoid scams check out Mozo’s Family Finance page to find a bunch of guides and tips.